Ashley and the HS2

Ashley Parish Council has resolved to oppose the HS2

For a foretaste of things to come, click on each of the photographs on the left a couple of times.
These photographs show the progress of the HS2 from Lamb Lane to the Mobberley Road Bridge

HS2 Affects All Ashley Residents

The path of the HS2 through Ashley will consume a huge amount of land and many homes will be either demolished or blighted.

What is not immediately apparent is the effect the HS2 will have on every resident in Ashley, especially during its construction.

Some of the disruptions that Ashley village will endure are:

  • Road closures, realignments and diversions
  • Main line rail closures
  • Constant movement of thousands of heavy construction traffic throughout the village
  • The creation of construction compounds wherever they are most convenient for contractors
  • Noise and air pollution during construction which will be floodlit.
  • Constant noise once the HS2 is operational

The Prime Minister has given the HS2 Railway the Go Ahead

It was announced on February 12th 2020 that the Prime Minister has given the go ahead for the first part of the HS2 railway from London to Birmingham and on to Crewe.

He committed to both the London to Birmingham rail line and the next phase from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, saying he would integrate the project with Northern Powerhouse Rail, a wider scheme which included a fast link between Leeds and Manchester.

However, the Prime Minister stated that he would want a review of the northern phase of HS2 (which affects Ashley) as he believed that the route had not necessarily been well thought out, nor was it fully cost effective. Currently there is no additional information about the proposed review but Ashley Parish Council will ensure that residents are informed once the information is released

Below are a number of articles which may be of interest:

HS2 Phase 2B Design Refinement Consultation

Ashley Parish Council's response to the HS2 Consultation can be found Here

The Consultation has now closed but the Secretary of State for Transport's announcement about 11 proposed design refinements to the HS2 Phase 2B route is extremely concerning for Ashley

The HS2 Phase 2b Design Refinement Consultation.This link takes you to links to all the documents for the 11 proposed design refinements. It also contains a link to the online response option, which can be found after all the maps. It is not possible to save the link locally on this website)

The documents below have been extracted from the HS2 website and are those that contain information about changes in Ashley

The Proposals

The latest proposals for HS2 will result in the railway line being built on an embankment which, in part and including the gantries, will be approximately 50 feet / 16 metres in height. It will intersect Ashley and will be an eyesore which will be seen for many miles around.

In addition, the proposals will split Ashley into two with Ashley Road being blocked off near Stock Farm. It is intended that a permanent maintenance facility will be built which will result in noise 24 hours a day.

A temporary railhead will also be built close to Sugar Brook Farm. Temporary in this context is for a period of 7 years to facilitate the building of the railway itself. This facility will be floodlit and in operation 24 hours a day during construction

The roads in Ashley will be virtually gridlocked by the immense number of heavy lorries required to bring equipment etc. to the village. Even HS2 admits that there will be considerable noise and disruption in Ashley. What HS2 hasn't addressed is how Ashley's roads will cope with the traffic.

There will also be a new road from Ashley Road which will join Mobberley Road in a T junction and will require realignment of Mobberley Road resulting in the loss of a significant amount of extra land.

It is also proposed that HS2 should join up with the Northern Powerhouse.

There are other less than pleasant aspects of the latest proposals in Ashley but the above are probably the ones which have the greatest impact

The Alternatives

Ideally, HS2 should not come through Ashley at all but, as this is but a dream, the alternatives to having the railway on an embankment would be a tunnel through the village or the railway being constructed in a cutting. Although a tunnel would be the best solution there are many reasons, including cost and engineering limitations, why we are told this would not be possible.

Therefore, Ashley Parish Council is strongly in favour of putting the railway in a cutting. The Council has been in talks with HS2 and has stressed its objection to any solution other than a cutting. Unfortunately HS2 has not been totally consistent in their reasons for favouring an embankment. One reason given was that Network Rail refused to allow HS2 to tunnel under the existing railway to accommodate the cutting; another was the prohibitive cost - approximately an additional £50 million, although this figure could not be verified (i.e. it is a guesstimate!!)

It has also been stated that if another required railhead, near Stone, was efficiently placed, there would be no need for a railhead or maintenance facility in Ashley. The Council is pursuing this with urgency

Documents and Links of Interest

How HS2 might look   Some random examples of viaducts and embankments - not necessarily for Ashley

Property Blight and the HS2   Although this document was published in 2010, it is still very relevant

Woodland Trust's Community Resources  Of all the documents on this page, this is the one that we in Ashley should regard as one of the most important because it describes the destruction of the ecological balance, the irreparable toll on widlife and concerns about the massive loss of ancient woodlands

An Old Map   This map is extracted from page 55 of a document published in 1996 which shows proposed high speed train routes in the UK and which tends to suggest that HS2 was born of this decision . The full European Parliament document, Decision No 1692/96/EC, is included below, but be warned - it is a lengthy document

Decision No 1692/96/EC